European cocoa demand rose in the second quarter of 2015, against analysts’ expectations, while Commerzbank sees cocoa prices discovering new highs in the fourth quarter of the year.
The volume of cocoa beans being processed in Europe, which is a proxy for cocoa demand, rose by 0.6% compared with the same quarter last year, to 309,677 tonnes, according to the European Cocoa Association.
Cocoa futures in London edged higher on the news, and were trading up 0.1% in afternoon deals at £2,208 a tonne.
There were ideas that European cocoa grinding could suffer thanks to the high price of London cocoa, which has continued to discover new four year highs.
Cocoa prices have been lifted by a series of downgrades to the size of the Ghanaian cocoa crop, the world’s second largest harvest.
In a report released on Tuesday ahead of the grind data, Commerzbank said “the high cocoa price level is weighing on processor’s margins and leading to price increases for chocolate products, which is reducing demand”.
Mining and rubber competition
The bank noted medium term boosts to cocoa prices, including “competition from the mining industry for land and workers” slowing Ghanaian production, while Ivorian production “face growing competition amid expanding rubber production”.
Commerzbank said that these factors, combined with the threat of El Nino disruption to weather patterns in West Africa were “enough to give strong tailwind to cocoa prices”.
The bank forecast London cocoa prices to hit £2,250 GBP a tonne in the fourth quarter, or higher if production in the Ivory Coast or Asian producers was disrupted.
Markets await data
Separate data released on Tuesday by Germany’s BDSI confectionary producer association reported German second quarter cocoa processing up 7.6 year on year to 88,773 tonnes.
Meanwhile, on Monday Malaysian cocoa grinding was reported down 29.9% over the second quarter from a year earlier.
Data released on North American cocoa grinding on Thursday is expected to show a drop of between 3 and 10% year-on-year.
Cocoa grinding by Europe and North America normally goes to meet demand in the local markets, while processors in Asia and West Africa can make up shortfall in those markets.
Port deliveries up
And on the supply side, cocoa deliveries to ports in Ivory Coast, the world’s top producer, between July 6 and July 12, were reported on Tuesday at 29,000 tonnes, up from 23,000 tonnes over the same period last year.
Port arrivals are still lagging over the season, at 1,604,000 tonnes since October 2014, compared to 1,628,000 tonnes over the same period in the previous season.
Ivory Coast’s main crop is now complete, although the smaller and lower grade “light crop” will continue over the summer.
(Source – http://www.agrimoney.com/news/european-cocoa-demand-tops-expectations-depite-high-prices–8576.html)